Quake III was a traditional multiplayer-oriented deathmatch romp. It wasnít a rather special occasion in gaming history, nor did it reinvent the wheel, but it was enjoyable all the same. With OpenArena, an open-source version of the game with full modding capabilities has been released. Featuring most of the same levels, weapons, and player models (although using different models and textures for legal issues) that Quake III had, OpenArena is a toned down version of the original, but should be noted for the extra content provided by the community.
The sounds factors in quite the same, itís not spectacular, but everything is properly covered, weapons are nice and loud, and footsteps are clearly audible. Most of the sounds are just for gameplayís sake, mostly to dictate from which direction enemy fire is coming from. In that case, it works perfectly fine, and not much more can be asked from whatís already there.
In the gameplay department, OpenArena is a mixed bag, much like other open source projects, the enjoyment youíll find in OpenArena relies solely on the kind of user add-ons you find. Community members have developed a wealth of extra weaponry, levels, player models, graphics, game types, and sounds. You can easily build up a nice library of extra content simply by joining games over the Internet, where you can automatically download any new maps or content that comes around.
OpenArena features both Bot support and Multiplayer (obviously) but playing with the bots isnít too entertaining, as they tend to stand still without dodging or putting up too much of a fight on anything but the highest difficulty settings (they can be quite tough on the higher difficulties, but this is merely attributed to them jumping around and having magic aim, not as though theyíre intelligent or anything) the bots tend to find their way on pre-set waypoints, and rarely deviate from the path designated for the map. This tends to turn the Singeplayer experience into nothing but camping in the same spot waiting for the bots to run into your fire.
The true experience lies online, thereís usually one or two servers filled with people, and the online gameplay is quite enjoyable. However, once again, this usually relies on the amount of user created content on the certain server youíve chosen to play on. Some servers are very bare of any creative content, which usually turns them into soulless and quite boring deathmatches that rarely last longer than a few minutes. Whereas, finding a new map or game mode tends to be quite interesting and offers a more enjoyable experience. OpenArenaís gameplay mechanics are very basic and form the bare bones of nearly every first person shooter, which makes it incredibly easy to jump into.
Games tend to be very short, and for good reason, as prolonged session of OpenArena tend to become very repetitive and old. The game is meant to be played in short bursts, and the length of the games compliments this. Although you might find yourself distracted for a few extra minutes by a cool map or gameplay mode, matches tend to boil down to short, violent, adrenaline pumped sessions of chaos.
The basic game modes included are Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch; Capture the Flag, and Tournament. Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag, are self explanatory, while Tournament is a brutal battle pitted between increasingly vicious enemies until the last victor remains standing. Thereís a good amount of default maps included for each mode, excluding Capture the Flag, which only includes one single measly map, and a very small and basic one at that.
If you arenít too afraid to spend some time searching for user content over the gameís matchmaking or in the community, OpenArena can be a good waste of a few minutes every now and then. Quite bare and boring without any downloaded content, those searching for a game thatíll be creative and entertaining right out of the box will be disappointed, as only the most hardcore shooter fan will find enjoyment for longer than an hour per day in OpenArenaís dry and unsophisticated combat.
Review by: Blood-Pigggy
Editor's rating:Public rating:
Blood & Gore, Violence and Language
Safe for ages: 15+
Windows, Linux, Mac OS X,
Pentium II 233MHz / AMD K6-2 300MHz or equally powerful processor
64MB of system memory
OpenGL supported video card with 16MB of video memory. (Voodoo Banshee, TNT and up)
300MB of hard drive space